Meet the City of South Miami Commission Candidates – Group IV

Walter Harris, candidate for South Miami Commission-Group IV.
Walter Harris, candidate for South Miami Commission-Group IV.

Candidate Walter Harris

City Commissioner incumbent Walter Harris has served on multiple boards and committees including Charter Review, Community Relations Board, CRA Advisory Board, Senior Citizens Board, and Green Task Force. He also served eight years as president and VP of the South Miami Homeowners Association, the Red Sunset Merchant Association, and has been on the Miami Dade League of Cities Board for five years.

Harris earned a BA from UM and his J.D. from Tulsa Law School in 1970. He practiced law between 1970 and 1975 and was also owner of Walter Harris photography from 1973 to 2010. A founding member of and volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, Harris lives in South Miami with his wife and has four grown children, three grandchildren, two dogs, three cats, and countless tropical fish.

What do you plan to do in your first 100 days?

If reelected, I plan to continue doing what I have done during my first 2,920 days in office: protecting the quality of life in South Miami. These next 100 days may be the most consequential for South Miami since my first election when we took on FPL’s two additional nuclear power plants at Turkey Point. A real potential threat to all of Miami-Dade County. Now we are fighting FPL’s planned overhead transmission lines running through the heart of South Miami.

My next 100 days may also be the beginning of the end of South Miami as we know it. Shops of Sunset plan to create its own zoning district and in so doing, override South Miami’s existing downtown zoning. Presently our zoning is four stories, 24 units per acre. Their planned zoning district would be an 18-story hotel, a 16-story apartment building, and 65 units per acre, without any input from the city. We must bring them to the negotiating table.

I strongly object to any developer creating its own zoning district. It is an invitation for other developers to expect the same opportunity. In fact, Baptist Health just purchased property on 62nd Ave. at Sunset Drive. What’s to stop them from demanding their own zoning district? We cannot allow this. Other developers will follow suit and we will become the extension of Dadeland, instead of the “City of Pleasant Living.”

Needless to say the developers want me out of office, because my one vote could conceivably stop any excessive development. I do not oppose development per se, but it must be negotiated and responsible.

I will continue to work to complete Madison Square, address traffic calming, and the overhead transmission lines. No individual has been more involved with the South Miami community than I have. Please go to my website, and visit the section entitled “About.”

The election is February 13 – and I am asking for your continued support. Please feel free to contact me at or by calling 305-302-1026.


Mark Lago, candidate for South Miami Commission-Group IV.
Mark Lago, candidate for South Miami Commission-Group IV.

Candidate Mark Lago

Mark Lago is running for City of South Miami Commissioner Group IV. Born and raised in Miami, Lago moved into South Miami in 2012, where he now lives with his wife and two children.  Currently, he works for a mortgage lender, but previously was with Bayview Financial as a portfolio manager. He has also run his own business as a certified general appraiser.

Lago studied Sociology at the University of Miami and received an MBA with a concentration in Finance from Nova Southeastern University.

What do you plan to do in your first 100 days?

The first thing I would like to do is listen to the people that I was elected to represent. There are several very important issues coming before the next commission and it is vital to provide decisions that will present the best net benefits to the constituents.

The most pressing issue is one of process and learning. I am running for office not because I have all the right answers or the correct opinions on every matter, but rather, because I want to engage the stakeholders of each issue that comes before the city to learn and to give an objective, well thought-out decision that will afford us stability, progress, and prosperity.

Given that the city hall project has so much value for South Miami, I feel that moving this issue forward is paramount. We must act to give the people what they voted for.

With the size and potential positive impact to the tax base, I would like to review the Sunset Place redevelopment plan as well as the potential zoning change suggested. This is one of the largest proposed projects in city history and it requires time and special consideration. We must work with all interested parties to revive the downtown district by increasing foot traffic, solving the parking issues, and working towards reducing vehicular traffic. 

I believe that if we stop fighting and work together, we can do much more for the city. South Miami is at a critical point, as are many other cities and states. We must decide whether we want politics as usual or are if we ready for new ideas and positive changes that will strengthen our community.

Thank you for considering my candidacy for the City of South Miami Commissioner, Group IV. I hope I can count on your support on Feb. 13, 2018.

If you wish to review my qualifications and help my campaign with your support, please visit my website at

William Taylor Lapane, candidate for South Miami Commission-Group IV.
William Taylor Lapane, candidate for South Miami Commission-Group IV.

Candidate William Taylor Lapane

William Taylor Lapane has lived in the City of South Miami since 1991. He attending schools here between 1992 and 2005, he also served as a sergeant in the South Miami Police Explorers program. Lapane attended the Miami Dade College Hospitality Program (2005-2011), the Disney College Program in Orlando (2006-2007), and studied hospitality abroad in Italy, Spain, and Morocco (2009-2011). As a result of “family tragedies,” Lapane served as a caregiver between 2012 and 2017.

What do you plan to do in your first 100 days?

If given the privilege to represent the voters of South Miami as Commissioner-Group IV, I will make it my responsibility to speak individually with many of my constituents in order to find out personally what their needs, wants, and concerns are regarding the City of South Miami.

So often, I feel there is a lack of communication between our city government and the citizens that are represented. This lack of communication became extremely evident during Hurricane Irma. As a small city, I feel our local government could have made a more concerted effort to reach out regularly and keep its citizens informed.

Also in my opening days, I plan to facilitate my understanding of city operations by meeting with all the departments within the city to understand the services they provide to our residents. I feel that government accountability is imperative to its citizens. 

Location, location … Because South Miami is so centrally located, traffic has become a nightmare. I have noticed over the last few years that our officers are not seen as frequently trafficking the streets. A perfect example is the traffic light on Miller Road at 62nd Ave. Most days, drivers block the intersection or speed through when the light turns red. In my first 100 days, I will have our officers start ticketing speeders and inconsiderate drivers. The trickle down affect would be to make the city a safer place for pedestrians.

Also during my first 100 days, I would like to do a simple beautification of South Miami by maintaining the cleanliness of the sidewalks, picking up trash, and making sure that all codes are enforced by the city.

Also during this time, there will be so much more for me to learn. I will definitely be honored to give back to such a wonderful community that helped raise me. Please feel free to contact me at or by calling 305-342-6345.

Connect To Your Customers & Grow Your Business

Click Here



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here